Hiring freeze? 3 ways you can optimize time spent by your employees to deliver what you need to deliver

In this guest post, Yasmin Ahmed explains how a hiring freeze can be an opportunity to strengthen a business and even increase employee engagement.

In today’s world, a hiring freeze sounds like the lesser of two cost-cutting evils. Especially since the end of 2022, when major tech layoffs have been making headlines on a very frequent basis. However, a hiring freeze can have a major and concerning impact on the engagement of existing employees, who now have an increased workload on their plates. This could in turn lead to higher attrition rates.

Even though unpleasant, looking at the half-full part of the glass, a hiring freeze can present a golden opportunity for a business to optimize, automate, develop, and accordingly, come out stronger on the other side. So what are ways to make that possible?

1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize 

Prioritizing effectively is key to ensuring that you and your team are working on the most critical projects – especially the ones that contribute most to company goals. A prioritization matrix can be a really helpful way to evaluate the impact and urgency of each project. This will help you allocate your teams' time and effort where it will make the most significant impact. Make sure to communicate these priorities to your team and keep them informed as circumstances change. 

2. AI is your friend

Everyone is talking about ChatGPT and how it is already revolutionizing the way we work and will do so even more in future. However, ChatGPT is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AI solutions that increase productivity and optimize processes from the way we do them today. Zapier is one of the very first companies that hopped on the AI train with real action and launched an integration with OpenAI connecting AI with all kinds of workflows to increase efficiencies with high quality. The AI solutions on the market today can certainly help you and your team make your work more efficient. 

3. Ensure the current employee experience is seamless and engaging

Happy people = happy business. And this is also very possible during a hiring freeze. To achieve this, communication is key. Regular check-ins can help reduce anxiety and improve engagement. A hiring freeze can also present an accelerated opportunity for career growth and learning, as the same workforce has to cover a broader range of responsibilities. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees surveyed said they would stay at a job longer if they were offered perspectives for career development.

A recent and increasingly popular tactic for finding out what exactly makes an individual employee experience seamless and engaging is stay interviews. The opposite of an exit interview, a stay interview is a one-on-one meeting between a manager and employee, focusing on that employee's individual job satisfaction and reasons for staying with the company. Stay interviews help identify issues that may cause employees to leave, and address them before it's too late. Additionally, it shows employees that their opinions are valued. And when employees feel valued, they also feel a lot more motivated to show that value in their work.

In conclusion, while a hiring freeze may seem like a daunting situation, it can be turned into an opportunity for focus and optimization. Prioritizing effectively, leveraging AI solutions, and ensuring a seamless and engaging employee experience are all key strategies to make the most out of that challenge. 

A hiring freeze doesn't have to lead to disengaged employees and higher attrition rates. With the right approach, businesses can maintain a happy and productive workforce and be successful in achieving their goals.

About Yasmin Ahmed

Yasmin Ahmed is an experienced strategic HR Leader and Consultant with a proven track record of success in developing and executing People strategies that support business growth while improving employee engagement and culture. Yasmin has held various HR roles leading various regions, in industries varying from major corporations to scale & start-ups.

Yasmin is currently on a mission to change the perception of HR and inspire HR professionals and business leaders alike to be and empower the HR team that employees and businesses really need.

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